Brian Kelly: ACC Officials Confirm Hit on Hunter Was Targeting

Notre Dame WR - Torii Hunter
Photo: Soobum Im // USA TODAY Sports

One of the most controversial calls in Notre Dame’s disappointing season opening loss to Texas Sunday night was the no call on the end-zone hit on Torii Hunter that looked an awful lot like targeting to anyone not wearing Burnt Orange.  On Monday, Brian Kelly told reporters that Notre Dame sent video of the hit to ACC officials who confirmed it should have been called targeting.

Kelly also told the media that they will be asking the Big 12 for clarification on the play.

In case you missed it, the play in question was what looked like a textbook example of targeting by Texas on Torii Hunter Jr in the end-zone on what had looked like it would be a go ahead touchdown.  Hunter was nailed directly in the head as he went to make the catch and ended up leaving the game with a reported concussion.

Hunter obviously was unable to return to action and the Notre Dame offense struggled without him.  Hunter will be going through concussion testing on Sunday and his status for this weekend’s home opener against Nevada is now questionable at best.

Had a penalty been called on Texas, Notre Dame would have had a first down in the redzone with all the momentum.  Without it the Irish lined up for a long field goal that got blocked and the momentum swung back in Texas’s favor.

Notre Dame had plenty of chances to get back in the game and did take the lead later on – albeit a short lived lead.  No penalty flags would have stopped the young Irish secondary from getting burned repeatedly by a true freshman quarterback either – more on that later.

Still, the play in doubt not only cost Notre Dame a potential score, but it also knocked out its starting wide receiver for the remainder of the game and looked much more egregious than some targeting penalties that have gone against Notre Dame over the years such as Stephon Tuitt in 2013 and Elijah Shumate in 2015.

For anyone stating that Notre Dame shouldn’t make a big deal of the play and just move on, Kelly and Notre Dame are absolutely correct in making a big deal of the play so that it gets called next time.  It’s like arguing bad penalties when they happen – you rarely get the call overturned but you are in essence arguing for the next call.  That’s what Kelly and Notre Dame are doing here and that’s exactly what they should be doing.  Well that and trying to fix that defense but again, more on that later.



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  1. George 3 years ago

    Well if the Big 12 replay booth didn’t call it, then it must not be a penalty. Oh wait..turns out they’re useless after all:

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  2. George 3 years ago

    We all saw the play and know how it happened. Its the exact kind of play that warranted an ejection 10 times out of 10 in the past. Maybe the refs are calling it differently this year, but based what I just saw in the Michigan/UCF game and others, they’re definitely still erring on the side of caution. But either way, you using the fact that the refs didn’t call it a penalty as your “proof” that it wasn’t a foul is laughable. Good stuff there Jonny Boy. Keep up the good work.

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  3. Jon Gilbert 3 years ago

    According to the 2016 NCAA Rules, it has to go beyond a regular tackle to count as targeting. That was just a good hit where the defender led with his shoulder, did not leave his feet or boost up into the receiver. But unfortunately momentum and the receiver crouching down into the defender caused their heads to bang. It’s football, that sometimes happen. And I understand being protective of your player and upset about losing a close game. But by the technical definition of targeting this year, that was not targeting, no matter what Kelly says that the ACC says. The fact is the ACC refs on the field did not think it was targeting, nor did the Big 12 refs in the booth… why? Because it was simply not targeting. Targeting means the defender deliberately tried to go above and beyond a regular tackle and that is not what happened here.

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  4. Dexter 3 years ago

    George obviously lost interest before reading what I said as well. Basically I just copied the targeting rule directly from the rule book. And based in the letter of the rule, those officials can easily justify not calling targeting.

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  5. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

    Thanks George.
    So in other words it made no sense whatsoever.

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  6. George 3 years ago

    He said that decapitation is legal if it’s executed by his favorite team. Then he went on to say that if you think he’s a sore winner, you should hear him after he loses.

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